A common method for individuals to seek permanent residency in the United States is through a job or offer of employment. If you want to become an immigrant based on the fact that you have a permanent employment opportunity in the United States, or if you are an employer that wants to sponsor someone for lawful permanent residency based on permanent employment in the United States, you must go through a multi-step process.
Permanent residency based upon employment is a multi-step process that must be completed in order unless an exception applies to a particular situation.
The first step requires the individual seeking to obtain residency and/or the company to establish the appropriate path to residency as indicated by the list below:
Green Card Through Job Offer
You may be eligible to become a permanent resident based on an offer of permanent employment in the United States. Most categories require an employer to get a labor certification and then file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
Green Card Through Investment
Green cards may be available to investors/entrepreneurs who are making an investment in an enterprise that creates new jobs in the U.S.
Green Card Through Self Petition
This option is available for either “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” or certain individuals granted a National Interest Waiver allows an individual to file a self-petition.
Green Card Through Special Categories of Jobs
There are a number of specialized jobs that may allow you to get a green card based on a past or current job. All of these require a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.
- Afghan/Iraqi Translator
- International Organization Employee
- Iraqi Who Assisted the U.S. Government
- NATO-6 Nonimmigrant
- Panama Canal Employee
- Physician National Interest Waiver
- Religious Worker
The second step is to file a Labor Certification with the Department of Labor if required under the particular employment category. Only upon obtaining a grant of certification from the Department of Labor can the third step of the visa process be undertaken. It is important to consult with a knowledgeable immigration attorney to determine if a recruitment and/or a Labor Certification is required.
Third, a Petition for Alien Worker filed on form I-140 must be submitted to USCIS by the sponsoring company (the Petitioner) on behalf of the foreign national (the Beneficiary). This petition must be filed with the Labor Certification that was granted by the Department of Labor if such a certification was required.
The fourth step is to file for Permanent Residency by completing the process through Adjustment of Status if the person is currently living in the United States or by Consulate processing if the person is abroad. Filing the I-485 to Adjust Status or applying for an immigrant visa can only be done by the foreign national when there visa numbers as published by the Department of State on its visa bulletin. The availability of a visa number is dependent of the immigration preference category and the foreign national’s country of birth, not country of citizenship.
Fifth, if the applicant is already in the United States, he or she must apply to adjust to permanent resident status after a visa number becomes available. You may wish to read about application procedures on becoming a permanent resident while in the United States. If the applicant is outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, he or she will be notified and must complete the process at his or her local U.S. consulate office. Visa number availability is determined in accordance to the following employment based preferences categories:
First Preference (EB-1 priority workers): aliens with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers.
Second Preference (EB-2 workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability): aliens who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent and aliens who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural, or educational interests or welfare of the United States.
Third Preference (EB-3 professionals, skilled workers, and other workers): aliens with at least two years of experience as skilled workers, professionals with a baccalaureate degree, and others with less than two years experience, such as an unskilled worker who can perform labor for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.
Fourth Preference (EB-4 special workers such as those in a religious occupation or vocation): aliens who, for at least two years before applying for admission to the United States, have been a member of a religious denomination that has a non-profit religious organization in the United States, and who will be working in a religious vocation or occupation at the request of the religious organization.
Fifth Preference (EB-5 Employment Creation): Visas for those individuals that promote employment creation.
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The Houston Immigration Lawyers at Benavides & Serrano, PLLC, in Houston, Texas, represent clients throughout the state of Texas, including:
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